Saturday, March 29, 2014

Going Retro: Hugo 1939

In addition to being able to vote on items produced in 2013, one can also vote on items produced in 1938. This is to honor those who went before who did not get honored (two reasons, in general: items produced before there were awards and items produced during the period in World War II when awards were put aside for more urgent matters).

Initially I was baffled by this, but once I found the lists from the era (mentioned below) and started thinking about titles, I was pretty surprised by the number of titles I remembered reading. Overall, 1938 was on the cusp of what have been the "Golden Age of Science Fiction" for me, just ahead of most of the titles or authors that I feel shaped my interests in the field. Titles chosen or names listed are stories I actually have read, or have read enough by that person to have picked something that  would have likely enjoyed (or seen the influence of that person on the field).

Best Novel:

Edmond "World Wrecker" Hamilton, The Fire Princess, Weird Tales
C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet
E.E. "Doc" Smith, The Galactic Patrol, Astounding (like I'd choose anything other?)
T.H. White, The Sword in the Stone
Jack "Star Smasher" Williamson, The Legion of Time, Astounding

It's a shame that two of the author's did not have nicknames. Yes, Edmond Hamilton was "World Wrecker". I remember that to this day and I probably came across the reference in the 1960's.

Source list here.

Best Novella:

Otto Binder (as Eando Binder), Eye of the Past, Astounding
John W. Campbell, Jr. as Don A. Stuart, Who Goes There?, Astounding
Raymond Z. Gallun, Something from Jupiter, Astounding
Henry Kuttner, The Time Trap, Marvel Science Stories
John Wyndham, Sleepers of Mars, Tales of Wonder

Henry Kuttner has started to get reprinted and I don't think John W. Campbell has really been out of print for long. Raymond Z. Gallun wrote many classics, but sadly seems forgotten. Binder and Wyndham are probably the most out of print.

Source list here.

Best Novelette:

John W. Campbell, Jr. as Don A. Stuart, Dead Knowledge, Astounding
Raymond Z. Gallun, Seeds of the Dusk, Astounding
C.L. Moore, Werewoman, Leaves
Eric Frank Russell, The World's Eighth Wonder, Tales of Wonder
Clifford D. Simak, Reunion on Ganymede, Astounding

As above, for commentary on what's in print, add Russell and Simak as being mostly out of print and Moore being possibly coming back into print. Oddly enough, I just re-read Werewoman recently, as part of our coverage on Moore for one of the podcasts I am involved with.

Source list here.

Best Short Story:

Otto Binder, The Atom Smasher, Amazing
John W. Campbell, Jr., The Brain Pirates, Thrilling Wonder Stories
L. Sprague de Camp, Hyperpelosity, Astounding
Lester Del Rey, Helen O'Loy, Astounding
Clark Ashton Smith, Mother of Toads, Weird Tales

The de Camp story has been reprinted enough to possibly be familiar to current readers. The Del Rey story as well. Smith has seen a fairly steady print run, most recently in the multi-volume set from Nightshade Books (still available as eBooks and even as audiobooks, if not currently in paper form).

Source list here.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form):

The Boys from Syracuse (musical)
A Christmas Carol (film)
Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (film)
The Gladiator (film)
I Married an Angel (musical)

In this case, I've seen the film, am familiar with the source material, or am familiar with the music.

Source list here.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):

Orson Welles, Around the World in Eighty Days
Orson Welles, Dracula
Orson Welles, The Man Who Was Thursday
David Chrisman and Bill Sweets, The Shadow
Orson Welles, The War of the Worlds

Mixed bag here of being familiar with the source material, having heard the actual item. Also, I was blessed with a grandfather who told me in detail about many of the radio programs he listened to.

Source list here.

Best Editor (Short Form):

John W. Campbell, Jr., Astounding Stories
Raymond A. Palmer, Amazing Stories
T. O'Coner Sloane, Amazing Stories
Mort Weisinger, Thrilling Wonder Stories
Farnsworth Wright, Weird Tales

Amazing changed editors partly through the year, hence the two names.

Source list here.

Best Professional Artist:

Margaret Brundage, Weird Tales
Virgil Finlay, Weird Tales
Frank R. Paul, Amazing Stories
Alex Schomburg, Thrilling Wonder Stories
H.W. Wesso, Astounding Stories

Source list here.

Best Fanzine:

Current Fantasy, Sam Moskowitz
The FAPA Fan, Donald A. Wollheim
Leaves, Robert H. Barlow
Science and Fantasy Advertiser, Bob Tucker
Science Fiction Critic, Claire P. Beck

For this category, it was the most difficult to break down. I went with names that I knew, publications that seemed to have had an impact beyond "fan writing".

Source list here.

Best Fan Writer:

Forest J. Ackerman
Claire P. Beck
Sam Moskowitz
Bob Tucker
Donald A. Wollheim

As above. Now, I'm not 100% sure all these folks actually wrote as well as edited, but since most fanzines had "staff" that wore many hats, it seems a sure bet that each of these wrote something at some point!

Source list here.

The remaining categories either didn't apply (there was no "fancast" in that era) or I just didn't have enough information to make any decision. For example, for Best Editor (Long Form) it is stated that the candidate must have edited four books in the period. Not only can't I find the names of editors from the period, I doubt if easy access to titles, let alone quantity of titles exists!

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